New canoeing race set to reinvent Berg paddling

Push and Pull Paddle (File)
Push and Pull Paddle (File)

Paarl - With the dust settling after a successful Berg River Canoe Marathon, attention is shifting to a brand new race being organised on the Berg River that runs through Paarl and the Swartland from August 9-11.

Called the Bamboo Warehouse Push and Pull Paddle, the three-day event is being organised by two Stellenbosch University students keen to offer canoeists a Berg race experience that is designed to appeal to paddlers on a number of different levels.

"This is a lifestyle sporting event and offers a total package that has three days of paddling, all meals, accommodation in a tented race village at every overnight stop and lots of fun entertainment and activities," said co-organiser Alan Houston.

"With the support of Bamboo Warehouse we have gone to a lot of trouble to make sure that it is very good value for money, as we recognise that everyone is looking for value-for-money right now," he added.

The 16 kilometre first stage will start at the Val de Vie Estate and finish at the Berg River Brewery in Paarl, where up-marketed tents and hot showers will be available before paddlers enjoying craft beer and wine tasting, hot dinner and live music.

Day Two will take the paddlers 35 kilometres downstream to the overnight at Blou Porselein Guest Farm where another tented race village with a local craft market and entertainment from DJs and live bands will be laid on for the Saturday night.

The final stage is deliberately short, covering 15 kilometres to Delsma, where prize giving and lunch will conclude the event.

"We understand that everyone has families to get back to and other responsibilities, so we hope to be finished with the prize giving at lunch-time," Houston added.

"The event is open to K1 and K2 paddlers, as we believe it is perfectly paddleable in a K2," he added. "Anyone keen to enter a K3 is very welcome as well!"

The race has a strict cap of 200 participants as their capacity is defined by the tented village they have organised. "We also want to make sure that we don't compromise on the quality of the experience of every single entrant," Houston added.

The organisers have been surprised by the take-up of their premium entry that secured an individual tent with fresh linen and personalised craft beer and wine tasting at the overnight stops.

"We want to make the most of the fact that we are in a really special part of the country and to create opportunities to experience what the Drakenstein and Swartland areas have to offer," he said.

Day One will feature a Paarl Web Design hotspot prize at the portage around the weir below Market Street Bridge in Paarl, while just after the start of Day Two a fun hotspot at the Dal Josephat weir will offer the first paddler in each batch a Gara paddle.

Normal entries for the event are set to close on July 13.

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